E17 Designers' story so far....
Designers love to make things, and E17 Designers helps them to sell what they make. Designers love to make things and, with the wealth of design talent we have in E17, that means very beautiful things indeed – from jewellery and ceramics to fashion and knitwear, from prints and stationery to soft furnishings and accessories.
But designers also need to sell things if they are to survive – and that’s where E17 Designers’ Markets comes in, creating happy, sociable shopping spaces where buyers can talk directly to makers, and turn their (excellent) taste into pounds in the designers’ pockets.
It’s our job to promote the events to the widest possible audience, and to make sure that everyone who comes through the door feels welcome and inspired.
The E17 Designers network was first founded a decade ago, by Ali Reader (Number 6), Clare Tomlinson (Little Mashers) and Carolyn Abbott to help local designers sell and promote their work. The first E17 Designers’ Market was held outdoors on the Village Square (fortunately, it didn’t rain). Since then we have organised events at venues across the borough – in shops, church halls, museums and galleries, and at festivals. Over 150 different designer-makers have shown off their work at over 60 events in 10 years.
E17 Designers is a community, supporting and encouraging the people who are involved in it: we set up shop every 4-6 weeks, at various venues in E17, at local art trails (Leytonstone Arts Trail and Festival, E17 Art Trail) and of course two special seasonal events before Christmas. We have also held special Valentine’s and Christmas shopping events at the William Morris Gallery (2013 and 2015) and hosted a whole Marquee at the Walthamstow Garden Party over the last three years. A week long pop up shop at Hoe Street Central in 2014 enabled all the makers to be part of an exciting week of pre-Christmas sales: over 1200 people came through the doors, where we showcased a selection of local artists, designers and makers: prints on the wall from Kirsten Schmidt, Anna Alcock, Andrew Baker, Linda Hughes and (by) Build Shop, jewellery from Ava Rae17, Carol Zilla and Amanda Mansell, leather products from SABEL Saddlery and clothes from Little Biscuit, D4Discus, Girl with Beads and Glow London. Accessories ranged from child friendly gifts at Pygmy Cloud and Hilda Rocket to more grown up items from Gail’s Windy Day and Tannen Brown. Much more was on offer with a range of prices, and many people went away with purchases, pleased they were able to shop local! 2015 saw us repeat the shop experience in The Mall (Walthamstow) for 5 weeks! Spin-offs have included Book-ish (2011 and 2014) an artists book fair and Downtown (2011), a fashion event... keep coming back to see what we are doing...
Makers and supporters say:
'The E17 Designers markets have a been a great way for us to attract local and not so local customers. They have been the perfect vehicle for us to test products, get great customer feedback regarding our products and network with other designers in London....and beyond.'
Queenie and Ted
'E17 Designers has been a great way to establish a loyal and local customer base as well as meeting wonderful local makers.'
Abigail Booth, Co-Director, Forest-and-Found
'E17 Designers has played a big part in making Walthamstow a very attractive place to live'
I first joined E17 Designers around 2007 . Having moved to the area in 2004 with a one year old son, I started looking for creative groups that I could join. As a trained graphic illustrator I wanted to get back into design and potentially sell some of my screen printed designs on t-shirts and baby gift wear. E17 Designers was a perfect place to meet some lovely like-minded women who were in a very similar situation to myself. Having set up Little Mashers I wanted an outlet to sell and test the market and the E17 Designers quarterly events were a great place to do this. Groups like E17 Designers give you experience of what it is like to make and sell your own items, test commercial viability and help connect with similar creative businesses.
Being a member of E17 Designers has been a real help in starting and growing my business. I had literally no experience of running a business and it offered a way of trying things out within a supportive framework. I got to have access to social media exposure, shared ideas and contacts with other small businesses and got to trade within a small craft market setting at E17 Designers popular local fairs. This meant I was also able to meet and chat with lots of customers and build strong local networks.
As a small local business, the appearance at E17 designers served us as a great marketing opportunity to introduce Forest Wines to a big local audience and meet a lot of lovely business owners from around the borough.
'My first introduction to the E17 Designers market was one sunny day many summers ago when I popped into Lloyd Park to meet a local vintage trader who had set up stall as part of that craft fair. I hadn't heard of E17 Designers but was bowled over by the high quality, one-of-a-kind designer maker products on offer. My Vintage-a-Fairs sprung directly from seeing the talent and goodwill that Carolyn gathers under her umbrella. As an event organiser I wouldn't have become part of that unique landscape if it hadn't been for E17 Designers'
I joined the E17 Designers' by accident 7 years ago. I baked a few cakes for fun. I was fortunate to be asked to join the group after the first event I did. I would not have started my own baking business if it had not been for Carolyn's support and the opportunity to be a part of the E17 Designers. Being part of a group with scheduled events gave me the confidence to set up on my own. I've been lucky to have been asked to make cakes for people's special events and met many interesting and enthusiastic customers and designers. It is a community I'm very proud to be part of.